Malik Monk has become one of the most impactful players on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster during the tumultuous first half of the 2021-22 campaign.
L.A. signed Monk to a one-year minimum contract in the summer, a move that has proved to be one of the biggest steals of the offseason. The 23-year-old guard averages 10.7 points per game, shooting 46.6% from the field and 36.8% from beyond the arc this year.
However, Monk’s numbers rise to 13.6 points per night, 48% from the field and 41.1% from downtown when taking into consideration his last 10 games.
The explosive guard’s form earned him a place in the starting lineup in the last two games. Monk said he focused on complementing LeBron James and Russell Westbrook after joining them in the starting unit.
“Just trying to get to the lane and space the floor and knock shots down to open up the court for those guys because when they’re in the open court, it’s hard to stop both of them,” he said. “So I just to mix up what I was doing to balance the floor and keep it open for them.”
The Lakers have become dependent on Monk’s offensive input, as shown by his recent five-game absence caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19). L.A. went 1-4 during that stretch, owning one of the worst offenses in the league.
Monk said he has embraced the role of a player the Lakers rely on to win games.
“I try to take that role every game, it don’t matter if I’m playing a lot or not, I’m trying to take that role and everything that comes with it,” he said.
“I want to be that guy. So, yes, sir. I’ve been coming into games and thinking that and playing like that, too. Yes, sir.”
Monk describes frustration as Lakers’ struggles continue
Despite Monk’s fine performances as well as James’ exceptional form in recent weeks, the Lakers are still below the .500 mark having lost six of the last seven games.
The Kentucky alum admitted feeling frustrated as the team continues struggling to win games.
“S*** is super frustrating, man,” Monk said.
“We’ve been doing this all year and we know what it takes that’s why it’s so frustrating for us. We just got to be locked in as a whole together and I think we’ll be alright.”
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